The 2011 Global 100

A Very Good Year

The American Lawyer


Since the early days of our Global 100 survey, which ranks the world’s largest law firms by revenue, it's always seemed that global expansion is the key to greater profits. But when one reviews the performance of individual firms in 2010 or charts it over time, it's unclear whether there is a causal relationship between the two. Star performers can be found among the most stubborn homebodies and the most persistent imperialists. As for last year's biggest gainers, the group includes four Australian firms that benefited from a strong currency; Norton Rose, which linked up with an Australian firm; and the litigators at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, who actually won new business. Two vereins also cracked our top ten for the first time—one (Hogan Lovells) by virtue of a new law firm combination, the other (DLA Piper) by virtue of a methodological change on our part that recognizes a union that has by now been around for some time. Sometimes, global expansion does pay off.

Previous Global 100 coverage :: 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007


Most Revenue Gross revenue rebounded slightly in 2010, with Global 100 firms reporting an overall 3 percent increase from 2009.
Most Profits Per Partner Profits per partner among Global 100 firms averaged nearly $1.5 million, and 70 firms topped the $1 million mark.
Most Lawyers Average head count at Global 100 firms was just over 1,000 lawyers. Nine firms employed more than 2,000. Two boasted more than 3,000.
Revenue Per Lawyer Revenue per lawyer among the top Global 100 firms averaged nearly $810,000, and 16 firm reported RPL of more than $1 million.
Global 100 Master Chart (Subscription required.) All the survey data in one comprehensive, sortable package.
Methodology How we arrive at the numbers.
The 2010 Global 100 Last year's results.


For the world's highest-grossing firms, global reach doesn't always equal higher profits.


Empire Builders Since 1999, the world’s 50 highest-grossing firms have become much more profitable and much more globalized. Is there a connection?
Ice Storm The failure of Iceland's banks threatened to bankrupt the nation. A handful of Icelandic lawyers and their foreign counsel put the country on the road to recovery.
When Opportunity Knocks How Clyde & Co absorbed an ailing rival and pulled off the biggest U.K. law firm merger ever.

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